Puerto Rican women protested outside the governor’s mansion for days to demand that he address gender-based violence on the island.
Thousands of women and allies signed a petition demanding Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rosselló sign an executive order to ensure government action against the gender-based violence that is so prevalent in Puerto Rico.
According to Feminist group Colectiva Feminista en Construcción, 40 women have been murdered in Puerto Rico in 2018 and 22 of those were cases of domestic violence.
The group organized a three-day sit-in outside the governor’s residence which ended on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. They encouraged the government to declare a state of emergency for women.
“The government has been inactive before the gender based violence epidemic that we suffer in Puerto Rico,” they stated via Change.org. “The Women’s Advocate Office hasn’t talked about the murders, and much less started a plan to stop them. Police precincts continue to ignore complaints about harassment and consent aggressions. Gender based violence is a public health crisis and we have to treat it as such.”
After more than 24 hours of no government response, police reportedly pepper-sprayed and got physical with protesters. Eventually, two spokeswomen were able to meet with officials and Governor Rosselló said he would review the proposed measure.